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Media release
Monday, 27 Jun 2016

Learning assessment report released

A report on the way student and beginning teachers learn how to use assessment to support and improve student learning, was released by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES).

The ‘Learning Assessment’ report identifies how future teachers can best learn to use, analyse, interpret and develop assessment to evaluate student learning and modify teaching practice.

President of BOSTES, Tom Alegounarias said “Assessment is an essential tool for teachers. Used properly it can tell them a great deal about student learning. It also provides clear feedback on their teaching, so they can improve their own performance.”

“Selecting what, how and when to assess have always been important questions for teachers.

“In an ongoing cycle, teachers assess students to identify the skills and knowledge to be achieved, they choose appropriate teaching and learning strategies and then assess student outcomes.

“The rationale and benefit of the report is that it will focus attention on how teachers and authorities such as BOSTES, which is responsible for the HSC, ensure a consistent approach to assessment with clear ongoing value and purpose.

“The report will also help universities prepare student teachers to develop assessments when they enter the classroom.”

President of the NSW Council of Deans, Professor Chris Davison said the Council welcomes this report which identifies important gaps in terms of teacher knowledge and skills around assessment and brings together a range of priorities for all teachers in one key document.

“Improving all teachers' capacity to collect and use assessment information to improve learning is critical to enhancing student achievement."

Professor Davison added that the Council of Deans is holding a forum with BOSTES on 19 October to share best practices and discuss how best to implement the recommendations in initial teacher education.

Mr Alegounarias said “The positive response from the universities to the report is really important.

“Assessment is constantly evolving and often high stakes, so new teachers need to start their careers with the skills and confidence to use assessment effectively, for the benefit of their students and their own professional development”.

The report emphasises the importance of professional experience placements for teaching students to observe best practice, and lists key elements of effective assessment practice. These include:

  • Teachers understanding the key role assessment plays in bringing together syllabus elements and performance standards to ensure learning opportunities and clear expectations about achievement
  • Beginning teachers having sufficient data literacy to understand the results of large scale testing programs and how they can help improve student learning.

The report will also be used by BOSTES and its partners in the school education sector, as the basis of professional development for teachers.

“Teaching should be a process of continual learning and teachers need to continually develop their teaching practice to ensure the best learning outcomes for their students,” said Mr Alegounarias

The report was undertaken as part of the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning (GTIL) reforms designed to improve the already high quality of teaching in NSW schools. Download a pdf of the report here.

BOSTES recently released a report on how maths is taught in primary teaching degrees, and last year released a series of reports addressing online initial teacher education, literacy learning in early primary school, and classroom management and students with special needs.